Joseph Clarence Laney (June 27, 1882 – August 16, 1948) was a journalist and educator. He founded the Oakland Central Trade School, which was later renamed Laney College in his memory.
Family and Education
Joseph Laney was born in 1882 near Salt Lake City, Utah. Laney traveled to Arizona and earned a graduate degree from the Arizona State Normal College (later Arizona State University) in June of 1900, then got a job with the Phoenix Republic. 1
He married (Anna) Grace Saylor (Laney) (January 3, 1883 – March 1, 1948) in 1904 and they moved to Oakland, where they had twin sons, Howard Laney and (Joseph) Clarence Laney. In 1910, they lived at 669 - 31st Street; in 1920, the Laneys lived at 574 - 29th Street. By 1930, they had moved to 2763 Rawson St.
The Saylor family later founded the Saylor Candy Company. 2
According to his son Howard, when he wasn't working, Laney liked to go fishing and camping, and had a special interest in photography. 2
Laney worked for the Alameda Argus, the Oakland Herald, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the Oakland Enquirer. In 1909, along with Perry W. MacDonald, he founded the Inter-City Express, a legal publication aimed at lawyers and building contractors. 1 They also formed a printing division, Inter-City Printing.
In 1927, he founded the Oakland Central Trade School, which later became Laney College Laney believed strongly in the value of a vocational education, and considered the founding of the school his most satisfying achievement. 1
"The idea of a free vocational trade school was novel and it faced resistance from the powerful labor unions. ... Laney got union and management together, a difficult task. He showed the unions how they could benefit from the training the apprentices would get at school. Union men could teach courses and benefit from continuing their studies in the current state of the art." 2
In 1938, Laney was unanimously appointed by the Oakland School Board to complete the term of former member Charles Snook (son of Charles E. Snook), who resigned in order to run for congress. Laney campaigned for a second term, and was re-elected in 1943. He was elected again in 1947, this time as the Oakland School Board president.
Death and Legacy
When Laney died in 1948, the Oakland Board of Education renamed the Central Trade School the Joseph C. Laney Trade and Technical Institute, "to perpetuate Laney's name in honor of his innumerable contributions to the community." 2 Joseph and Grace are interred in the main mausoleum at Mountain View Cemetery, Section 6, #514, Tier 1. 4